As a young kid, life was kind of rough for me. I wasn’t raised in a cardboard box or anything, we had all we needed. It was rough because I felt sad. I didn’t like myself too much. I let others define who I was. Nothing terribly tragic happened. My parents divorced when I was 10, but that’s about the norm these days unfortunately. I did get bullied quite a bit. I’m really not quite sure why, I loved people and I was a nice kid. It seems to be an epidemic these days and that’s terribly sad.
One of the key bullying episodes was at our neighbor’s house. In the corner of their porch, there was a huge pile of dried bird poop. For some reason, the kids thought it would be funny to grab handfuls of the poop and shove it down my shirt and rub it in my hair. I ran home crying, needing a bath. Why does that stick out to me so much? Maybe because it was underserved and gross? I’m not sure.
Although it’s a funny comparison, we all have bird poop stories in one form or another. People treating us bad for no reason. Shoving painful stuff in our face. Gossip, lying, selfishness, stealing, the list goes on. It comes with the territory of life when there’s a bunch of broken people trying to co-exist. How we choose to handle the poop is key. Do we have grace? How about anger? Maybe self-pity?
I thank God for those rough years. For the opportunity to grow from the pain. For the heart it has given me for others. For the undeniable proof of God’s protection and grace in my life. I am forever grateful for those defining moments. It’s funny that, although we don’t understand it, God uses even the worst of situations for His good.
I’m a firm believer that letting the past shape you is good, but letting the past define you can be dangerous.
What past experiences could you grow from? What past experiences could have a positive impact on someone else?